Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs. Campbeltown Loch to Lochgilphead.
We were delighted when Paul Murton of Grand Tours contacted us about our ring net fishing boat Shemaron. What better place to raise the profile of ring net heritage than on BBC television! We have worked long and hard to promote ring net fishing heritage, so, this is a rare opportunity to spread the word.
Our first meeting with Paul took place on board Shemaron in Tarbert. It was a cold wintry day in February. No one could have guessed that we were going to have such an amazingly hot summer. When we met Paul again, it was in July. He arrived at Shemaron with his film crew on a scorching afternoon.
It Was A Scorching Day in Tarbert
It was a thirsty summer day, the breeze that came up from the sea, made the trees rasp instead of whisper. The countryside was parched, and the old ruins of Tarbert Castle looked down on the quiet harbour. The sun bounced off Shemaron’s pitch pine deck, and we wondered yet again how she was coping with the intense heat. The hot weather conditions had been relentless. A constant assault that dried and opened her old wood.
By the water was the most comfortable place to be. I watched Shemaron gently turn away from the pontoons and cross the harbour. Onboard were Trustees Chris Malkin and Robert Macphail who were joined by Sandy Galbraith Shemaron’s ex-skipper and the Tern Media film crew. A figure stood at the bow. I knew how I would have felt if it had been me standing there. The sea moving under the bow and the world coming on with whatever the day brought. The bow of a boat is a powerful place to be. Especially a ring net boat like Shemaron with her low gunnels. When you are up there, there is very little between you and the elements. It can feel like you are embracing the world.
On that day there wasn’t a breath of wind on the water. Shemaron’s decks were steady. The harbour was as still as a picture, but it gleamed with a natural radiance. A delicious breeze wafted gently as the caterpillar engine pushed forward. At nearly 70 years old Shemaron looked happy to glide unhurriedly through the water. The weight of her years was no problem, and her propellor turned lazily. With every revolution, she celebrated her long, rich fishing heritage.
A Salute to the Ring Net Fishermen and the Part They Played in Scottish Fishing Heritage
Shemaron carries her mantle with quiet dignity. She has often been described as being more than the sum of parts. There is indeed more about her than her wood and mechanics. She exemplifies her position as representative of the ring net fishing era not only by her design. By virtue of her long career, she salutes the ring net fishermen and the part they played in Scottish fishing heritage. Under the watchful gaze of Tarbert’s Castle of Kings and with the real stature of a thoroughbred Shemaron moved away. The expanse of Loch Fyne opened to her bow, and she disappeared blue against the blue sky and sea.
Out of the harbour cruising across Loch Fyne was a near perfect day to be on the water. With Shemaron steady as ever, the film crew began setting up their gear, and Paul briefed Skipper Sandy in preparation for a wheelhouse interview. The film crew knew what they were doing, but the boat crew were instructed to keep out of site as filming began and we made our way up Loch Fyne with Stonefield Castle hotel on our port beam. Not an easy task on a fishing boat with clear deck space and only an upstanding wheelhouse to hide behind. However, as the camera focused looking towards the stern wheelhouse, we assembled in the bow moving back and around the wheelhouse in a silent huddle as the camera view changed. This procedure was repeated when Chris was interviewed amidships with us keeping our heads down and out of shot.
An hour or two later as we made our way back, the film crew boarded Fynal Fling the accompanying boat and filmed Shemaron from a distance as the Clyde paddle steamer hove into view on her weekly cruise from Glasgow around the Kyles of Bute, Ardlamont point and into Loch Fyne with a stop at Tarbert pier.
An exciting afternoon with the abiding memory that in all probability when watching any film we are not unaware of the film crew and other helpers hiding silently behind every corner!
Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs Episode 6 19:30 Monday 15th October 2018
Last year our Loch Fyne Skiff Wee Dooker was used in the filming of Keepers with Gerald Butler.
The Ring Net Heritage Trust seeks to increase interest in the ring net heritage by:-
Working with local museums and heritage organisations towards promoting the ring net story.
Informing the public about the ring heritage through Open Days, traditional boat events and visits by interested organisations.